By Natasha Brown

BLACKWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of New Jersey’s coronavirus vaccination program. It comes as the state battles another surge in COVID-19 cases.

A lot has changed since that first dose was administered a year ago. Gov. Phil Murphy says more people need to receive vaccine booster shots.

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“That’s why we declared today Boost NJ Day,” Murphy said,

It is both a one-year celebration of the first COVID-19 vaccine given in New Jersey and a call to action to get more New Jerseyans boosted in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.

“The booster, do not think of it as a bonus. It is a necessity. We need more New Jerseyans to step up get back into that queue and get boosted. And this is especially important for the 16 and 17-year-olds who have received the Pfizer vaccine and were just made booster eligible,” Murphy said.

New Jersey touts one of the highest vaccination rates among its residents with nearly 74% fully vaccinated, and 36% of those eligible have already received booster shots but officials say more work needs to be done.

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Case counts and hospitalizations are steadily rising again with variants like omicron and delta surging.

“The strength of the vaccines in preventing hospitalizations and deaths cannot be overstated or underscored enough,” Murphy said.

The statewide Boost NJ Day initiative is leading to special clinics with extended hours offering adult and pediatric vaccinations.

In Camden County, health officials greeted folks at the Camden County College Blackwood campus.

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Right now, New Jersey has as many as 1,900 locations where you can receive COVID booster shots, including pharmacies, supermarkets and community centers.